By: Ayomide Arowobusoye
It’s less than 2 weeks to Christmas, can you smell it already?!
No matter how old you get, there is a special feeling that comes with the last month of the year, December.
Growing up in Nigeria, you have no choice but to be accustomed to certain December traditions. These traditions gently reminds us that Christmas is near! Not just any Christmas, but the Nigerian Christmas. These Nigerian Christmas traditions never fail to add sparkle to the celebration.
Here are few of these traditions (you are not Nigerian enough if you cannot relate with a number of them)
- Hearing xmas carols and the Christmas ‘National Anthem’ by C.A.C Good Women being played everywhere
You can’t escape listening to at least 2 Christmas carols a day and the C.A.C Good Women choir ‘Odun lo so pin”. This is a song of prayer for December and the new year.
No Christmas is complete without this evergreen song being played usually from the 1st of December through January. You hear it blasting through the speakers of the roadside barber; the Danfo driver always plays it in his bus; no Sunday service is complete without the choir singing a few lines.
2. Making Christmas Rice and Chicken appointments
What is a Christmas without rice and chicken? It doesn’t really matter the ‘species’ of rice cooked; Fried or Jollof, the bottom line is Christmas rice must be served on Christmas day or before. There are so much food and drinks during this season in most families. You get to eat till your stomach says no. Some companies gift their workers with rice and oil prior to the holiday.
3. Special December Traffic
A 24/7 Traffic jam is almost inevitable in parts of the country during the Christmas season, especially in Lagos where it is almost a ritual. This is because while people travel to their respective states of origin to celebrate with their loved ones, Nigerians in the diaspora also come back home for celebrations. There is usually a lot of “I am going to the village” flying around.
4. The Decorations
Homes, restaurants, workplaces, and streets are often decorated. Most homes will have an artificial Christmas tree.
5. New Christmas Cloth and hairstyles
December is a time Nigerians go all out shopping for the holidays. As a Nigerian, you have to carefully select gorgeous clothes, shoes, and hairstyles for the 25th of December, the day marked out to celebrate the Christmas holiday. Some families get matching attires and identical fabrics for celebrations. It all adds to the holiday fun and excitement.
6. It’s time for the end of the year parties
The Christmas season is a fun time for children. Schools always had their end-of-the-year party and carols around the Christmas period.
National Television Authority, NTA makes a lot of money during this period through their annual children’s Christmas parties. Being on TV and giving shout-outs to your friends and family is a major requirement to being a cool kid back.
They also get the chance to pay a visit to Santa Claus, popularly known as Father Christmas. Parties give the kids an opportunity to ‘pepper’ their friends with their new clothes and shoes combined with matching colored plastic glasses, wristwatches, and Christmas hats.
Adults are not left out in the fun. Churches and offices organise parties. There are also musical concerts, shows, street jams, and carnivals.
7. The Fireworks!
Even though state governments and The Police have warned against the use of fireworks popularly called ‘banger or knock-out’ during the festive period, this is still a tradition that won’t be phased out in a long while.
Fireworks create a fun-filled atmosphere to compliment the season. You would have to listen carefully to be certain the next shot was actually not from a gun. The lights and rush of adrenalin that comes with the knock-outs is what makes the tradition so exciting.